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Reimagining Luxury

2 minute read
Kate Betts

AT THE RECENT OPENING OF FENDI’S FLAGSHIP on Fifth Avenue in New York City, CEO Michael Burke insisted that luxury is no longer about being the biggest. “It’s about being intimate and unique,” he said, surveying the new two-story store, filled with handmade furs and trendy Spy bags. These days redefining luxury has become an art form as innovative purveyors of high-end products try to ride the vicissitudes of an unpredictable stock market and weather even more unpredictable global events. In the past five years, we’ve seen bling-bling luxury evolve into more personal luxury. Now there’s small-scale luxury.

This supplement to Time is dedicated to the best luxury products, trends and destinations of 2005. In addition to traditional objects of desire, like Cartier’s Caresse d’Orchidées brooch or Dyson’s DC15 Animal vacuum, there’s always a new luxury—trend looming on the horizon. Today lifestyle retailers like Whole Foods Market and designers like jeweler John Hardy are talking about “sustainable” luxury products that are solutions, not just commodities. That could mean an environmentally sustainable factory or store, or it could be the notion of feeding company employees homegrown organic food for lunch. These ever expanding definitions of luxury keep the business interesting. Look at Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who in 20 years have built a billion-dollar empire by reimagining their own definition of luxury. In their case, it’s a unique vision that has single-handedly brought provincial Italian style to the forefront of fashion. —Kate Betts

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